Kevin O’Connell Provides Injury Updates

Kevin O'Connell
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Training camp practices kick off on July 26th, three days after the rookies and some veterans reported at TCO Performance Center in Eagan and one day after the remaining players came to work. Coming off a 13-4 season, the Vikings have high expectations within the organization for the upcoming six months.

Kevin O’Connell Provides Injury Updates

Provides Injury Updates
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Some Vikings players will not be on the field when the practices begin. The Vikings placed a couple of them on injury lists. Head coach Kevin O’Connell provided an update on their status when he stepped in front of the media during his opening press conference, “You guys probably saw some of the transactions. As far as Andre Carter being on PUP, [he] sustained a soft-tissue injury training this summer. Hopefully, that’s something that we can pull him off of in the not-too-distant future and have him start practicing.”

Edge rusher Andre Carter was a priority free agent — an undrafted rookie — signing right after the draft. He highlighted the Vikings’ UDFA group with Ivan Pace. Carter received the most guaranteed money in the NFL among undrafted guys and is an intriguing player.

Coming out of Army, Carter had a fantastic 2021 season, racking up 14.5 sacks and 17 tackles for loss. In 2022, Carter drew much more attention in the form of extra blockers, so his numbers declined. O’Connell praised Carter months ago as an extra draft pick, which, paired with the guaranteed money, shows how much the Vikings value him. Getting on the field is a big step for him.

Viking Took
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

“Chris Reed sustained a non-football injury away from the facility, lower leg injury. We’re hoping that he is not that far behind Andre (Carter) to be able to get going,” O’Connell added.

Chris Reed joined the Vikings as a free agent in 2022 as a potential starter at right guard. The veteran lost the camp competition to Ed Ingram, and even Jesse Davis was ahead of him. Working simultaneously as a depth center, Reed is a valuable veteran backup lineman, a job he has had for quite a while with various teams in his career.

Getting him up to speed will be important for the team and especially for him, as some young guys are just waiting for an opportunity, and he might actually be in trouble if someone shines and he isn’t on the field. Just like Carter, Reed can be activated at any point.

He continued, “But outside of those two guys and a couple of the new guys that we just signed recently that we get up to speed, all others are healthy and ready to go. Brian O’Neill will not be on PUP, but we will continue kind of a predetermined plan for him that allows him to really progress towards the ultimate goal, which has always been September 10th against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. So that will be a process throughout training camp.”

The Vikings signed a trio of new guys, and those didn’t have an offseason program. They might need a few days to get ready to be on the field.

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Brian O’Neill’s health is important to monitor, as he is one of the team’s best players. The offense is much better with him than without him. It is encouraging that the goal for him is to be healthy in Week 1. Not having to start training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform List is a good sign.

“All others are healthy” includes rookie DeWayne McBride who missed some OTAs. He will compete with Kene Nwangwu and Ty Chandler for the backup running back duties. Some envision him to be more than just a backup.

Jordan Addison is also healthy. He missed OTAs and minicamp with an injury and is full-go. He is expected to help the offense early in his career after the departure of Adam Thielen.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt